Plying the pre-war cross-Channel route between Jersey and the mainland were a wide variety of steamers, all well known to islanders


Plying the pre-war cross-Channel route between Jersey and the mainland were a wide variety of steamers, all well known to islanders. Most were taken into military service during the war, with a report this week revealing their fate.

Some remain in service, including the SS Caesarea, taken over by the Admiralty and presently transporting refugees from Archangel to the UK. The SS Princess Ena also remains in Royal Naval use, although its wartime role is unclear.

Three of the ships fell prey to enemy submarines, all in the war’s last year. The SS Normandy was lost near Cherbourg in January while the SS South Western went down in March off the Isle of Wight. Most recent was the SS Sarnia, torpedoed outside Alexandria in September with the loss of 55 lives.

The SS Roebuck, which infamously had almost sunk after striking rocks off Corbière in 1911, went down in Scapa Flow after dragging her anchor in 1915.

The SS Antelope appears to have a most unusual fate. Sold to the Turkish Government before the war, she was later captured as a war prize by her sister ship SS Gazelle off the coast of Albania.

Associated Record:

A/E/8/10 contains advertising of shipping movements and steamship services during the wartime years.